Snake the drain first thing Saturday morning followed by seeding and watering the lawn. After that, maybe take a look at the gutters and make sure that they are clear. If you have time and you haven't fallen asleep on the hammock, test fully functional 3D printer.
Most of those in manufacturing and industry have either heard of or are at least aware of the advancements of 3D printers for prototyping, rapid turn-around development times and other quick testing or production uses. A new trend, however, might have an even greater impact on this seemingly constantly growing industry.
Hobbyists, home tinkers and potential cottage industry-mini-industrialist-wannabes are now embracing 3D printing much the way they did with robotics a decade ago, except this time around, the potential for the wide open range of applications in everyday use are much more telling.
And where there's a growing trend, look for business to follow.
While 3D printers can run the gambit price-wise from a few thousand to few hundred thousand dollars, 3D printer manufacturers are now eyeing home-based and other lower end users that might not have the budget like a major (or minor) manufacturer.
The Brooklyn, New York based company, MakerBot Industries, was one of the first companies to offer open sourced DIY downloads and plans so that users could build their own printers. They have since moved on to build and sell pre-assembled printers that, while not cheap, are more in line with home or small business or even classroom budgets.
Other companies such as PrintrBot and Solidoodle both offer pre-assembled printers for under $500. Chinese manufacturers are getting into the act as well. Even the hobby and arts social networking site Pinterest has sellers counted among its members.
Even with this new accessibility, it doesn’t matter how great of an idea you have unless you know what you're doing. If you don't have the necessary skills or knowledge of CAD, you'll have to rely on designs that are available on the Internet. There are several sources- many of them free- where you can go to download pre-existing designs.
But what if you don't want to use something that is already out there or predesigned?
Parametric Parts, a new 3D printer start-up, may just have an answer for you. They've created design software that works much like MS Word; has customizable templates and best of all, doesn't require CAD knowledge or training.
With the increased affordability and availability, even cash strapped schools are starting to get their hands on these printers and put them into science and tech classes. When 11, 12 or even 18 year olds start making cell phone cases, figurines and other fun stuff in class, not only does it provide a welcome distraction from the regular drudges of everyday school work, but it also serves as a inspirational tool and breeding ground for future engineers.
When placed in the hands of a kid or a classroom full of kids, these printers demonstrate that it is possible to think of a project, design a project and produce a project in a matter of hours. 3D printers aren't just an interesting hobby or something that can be taught as a new trade (which it can). 3D printers can create excitement for manufacturing at a young age and given the right guidance, can be used to carry that excitement over as they grow
3D printers are starting to fall into that "if you can think it- you can do it" realm. Well, right after the lawn gets watered and the gutters get cleaned.